After 5.5 weeks visiting our family and friends in Canada, we are finally back in Brisbane. Jet lag is still hanging over our heads and we don’t quite have our days and nights sorted out. I started typing this post somewhere around 4am because Thomas decided begin his day shortly before that. It was certainly quite the experience flying half way around the world by myself with a 6 month old, let me tell you! Especially one that is teething. Unreal.
Although I’m exhausted, my 35 hour trip sans sleep was completely worth it. We had a fantastic time on vacation and already looking forward to our trip home next year. That being said, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about coming back to Australia for year #2. Although I try to be positive about living so far away from home, my first year in Oz definitely had its challenges. Between my pregnancy, not teaching, missing my girlfriends and family, learning the ropes of motherhood, and basically having zero outside help for most of Thomas’s first 6 months of life, I definitely wasn’t living the perfect scenario I’d imagined when we decided to move to Australia. I went through periods of being extremely homesick and isolated, questioning my original desire to live this expat lifestyle.
September 1st marked one year since Adam and I arrived in Brisbane, and I must admit that I am feeling much more optimistic about the upcoming year. It’s nice to have some familiarity this time around. Australia is truly an incredible country. I always tell people that it would be my ideal place to live for the rest of my life, if only my family and friends could move here too! Anyway, now that I am back, I am actually quite content and looking forward to an incredible year. With that being said, I want to dedicate this post to the ten things I absolutely love about living here!
1. The Beaches
I don’t think it gets any better!
2. The Climate
Coming from a country where summer is only 7 weeks long and we spend half the year in parkas, I really appreciate being able to go for a walk along the river or eat outside mid-winter. Although you can’t quite lounge around in a bathing suit all year long, I have only had to wear my jacket a handful of times.
|A winter’s day (early June).|
3. The People.
Cheerful, helpful, friendly, caring…Aussies are SO wonderful! I also love all of the funny-to-me sayings and abbreviated terminology used here. Although I try to incorporate some of the lingo into my vocabulary, I definitely still respond to, “How ya goin’?” with, “Fine thank you, how are you?”
I have had some great fitness opportunities here so far. Australia is definitely one of the world leaders in health and exercise. I love my gym, I’m still doing Les Mills classes and I loved my Baby Boot Camp experience! Plus, the weather allows for year-round outdoor activity. This place screams ‘healthy lifestyle’.
99% of the produce in the stores is Australian grown and the quality is consistently excellent. I don’t worry too much about organics or how many national borders my fruit has travelled across before making its way into my grocery basket. Some things are expensive (e.g.: berries), but most is very reasonable.
6. Health Care.
I had the most incredible pregnancy/labour/hospital experience here! Although plenty of my girlfriends are having great prenatal experiences in Canada, I had several frustrating moments in the first 4 months of my pregnancy; I always felt like a number. I had the most amazing care in Brisbane and it makes me hope that we’ll still be here whenever life calls for baby #2 (although let’s not even think about that yet, haha).
The java here is to die for. I think Aussie baristas would likely scoff at the drip coffee we drink back home.
8. The Pace of Life.
Although I somewhat got a thrill from the rat race in Calgary, I can’t deny that the leisurely pace of life here in Australia is utterly refreshing. Everything is so much more relaxed and laissez-faire. Although I don’t think North American culture is too much different than Australian, this is one disparity that I’ve noticed.
9. Food & Restaurants.
We had not been disappointed by the food here! From sushi to Thai to seafood to baked goods, Australian restaurants rarely disappoint. And for a place that doesn’t promote tipping, service is consistently second to none!
10. What People Value.
I think this is my favourite. Aussies, as a whole, seemingly hold slightly different values than mainstream, North American society. Let’s face it. In big city North America, people spend exorbitant amounts of money on big homes, fancy cars, and designer clothing. In Calgary, I always felt like I could never quite ‘keep up’, as silly as that sounds. Australia feels different. It kind of reminds me of growing up on the East Coast of Canada. People still care about having a nice home and vehicle, but it isn’t a competition. People still like to go shopping and present themselves well, but no one asks, “Who’s that bag by?” Material things just don’t hold the same level of precedence. Amen!
Thank you, Brisbane (and Australia), for welcoming us with open arms. I am so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity and looking forward to another year of adventures ‘down under’.